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It’s That Time Of The Year Again

Every equinox and every solstice the season changes. A group of passionate artists under the lead of retired Berkeley geography professor G. Don Bain and his former student Landis Bennett set out to produce a collective virtual snapshot in time.

During a short period around the current equinox, each contributing artist will interpret a common theme using VR technology. The resulting collection of VRs is published on the World Wide Panorama, one of the world largest show cases of VR art.

For the current event, the theme is Color and the most important rule is that photo shooting must take place between September 18 and 23.

Whether you are new to panorama photograpy or a seasoned expert; new to the World Wide Panorama or a community member with a published track record, this is your chance to have some global fun. Join in! and participate in this world wide event.

Go out shooting a panorama related to the theme Color. The rest will fall into place. If you don’t yet have an account in the WWP’s system, opening one is as simple as filling this form. If you have never transformed your panoramas into a QuickTimeVR (the technology used by the project), the community will help you set up. Read the details here.

For the current event the inspirational theme was written by Caroling Geary and Yuval Levy.  Find its full text below. We hope it will inspire you and look forward to see some colorful panorama from you on the World Wide Panorama Color event, scheduled for publication October 5.


Everything about color is relative. We can’t pin it down but we can suggest it. We live in a world of constantly changing light that projects or reflects vibrations that we perceive as color. Individual perception of color varies. Capturing color and transmitting it to others with our technology is a tricky and unsure process. Color names are not precise so we use numbers (hexadecimal notation).

Color can work with many of the theme suggestions. For example, someone suggested Elements: earth, wind, fire, and water. Think of the colors of those elements and how they might appear singly or together in a panorama. For example, red lava flowing into aqua water.

The Irish leprechaun’s secret hiding place for his pot of gold is said to be at the end of the rainbow, an optical and meteorological phenomena that causes a spectrum of light to appear in the sky as a multicolored arc with red on the outer edge and violet on the inner edge when the Sun shines onto droplets of moisture in the Earth’s atmosphere.

Humans perceive this tiny portion of the electromagnetic spectrum, from 400 (red) to 790 (violet) teraherz through the eye, differentiating wave lengths as colors. In contrast with the audbile portion of the electromagnetic spectrum (20 Hz – 20 kHz), we can not directly emit signals in this spectrum. But we have created colored lights.

Reflected color is an illusion. When we say green paint, we mean that the paint’s chemical structure absorbs red rays from white light and reflects green. If we shine blue light on the green paint we get something else. So color photography is intimately bound up with lighting. The white point is important, whether matching fluorescent or incandescent light bulbs or overcast sunlight.

To use the color spectrum humans have invented all sorts of techniques. With chemical processes we extract natural pigments or create artificial ones and create paint to add color in our lives. We use electric processes to reproduce color on ever bigger, faster, brighter and more detailed displays.

We try to calibrate the displays so each person sees the same color, but there are many variables. Color blindness is one.

We use color as a mean of distinction. We wear our team’s colors when we go to the stadium and we are proud of our national colors, reflected in our flags. We choose our car’s color and coat our homes with colors that we like. Sometimes we are limited in our choices, like on the Caribbean island of Curacao where on April 22, 1817 a governor prohibited the use of white paint for houses due to sun glare bouncing off the walls hurting his eyes.

Naturally the sky is blue and vegetation is green. Nature uses color sometimes to blend in like a chameleon and sometimes to stand out like colorful mushrooms and animals that indicate to potential predators: “beware, I’m poisonous!”.

We do the same, sometimes blending in with a military camouflage pattern or with gray suits in a city, and sometimes standing out, with dyed hair, painted nails and body, colorful dresses.

Cultures attach conventional meanings to color. The universal phenomenon of mourning a death is associated with black in the west, yellow in Egypt, red in South Africa and white in Japan and the far east. Readers of this essay can find more different cultural uses of color for the same phenomenon.

Colors are used to encode information. Traffic lights are by convention red and green all over the world but other traffic signs differ. Speed limits in Europe are surrounded by a red circular border like all other signs indicating a prohibition, while in North America they are simply white panels with the number painted in black.

Technically, evolution has been a one way street to expand the availability of colors, including the introduction of color film, color TV, the invention of blue LED and the expansion of the color gamut of current and future displays.

Artists do not limit themselves to this one way. Sometimes monochromatic or black and white images can feel more colorful than oversaturated or intensely-colored ones. That is in the sense of visual drama. Also artists use afterimages and knowledge of how colors affect each other for emphasis.

VR photography pushes the dynamic range of color to its limits. The envelope is still being pushed, with the latest trends being high dynamic range imaging and, very recently fusion processess for exposure blending.

We are confident that the next WWP event will push the envelope of colors in all directions, artistic and technical, showing diverse facets of this colorful world and our colorful imaginations.

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